One thing we’ve already learned about the Dodgers' front office, they’re not worried about breaking your heart. Following individual Dodgers should come with a warning label: Become personally attached to players at your own risk.
We learned this in the off-season when Matt Kemp was sent to the San Diego Padres, and now it’s been reinforced with the aborted attempt to send Juan Uribe across the hall at Dodger Stadium to the visiting Atlanta Braves. It only failed because the main player to come in return, Alberto Callaspo, vetoed the agreed-upon trade.
Uribe is the most popular Dodger inside the clubhouse and one of its most liked outside it. It has partially to do with his clutch production the past two seasons, with his outsized personality on a team mostly devoid of such things, and maybe a little with that roundish frame.
No matter, it is not wise to fall in love with any one player on the Dodgers these days. The new front office regime has been anything but shy about moving players. They come and go almost like on a fantasy team. Some come and go before ever actually putting on a uniform.
Uribe had been a major disappointment for the Dodgers in his first two seasons after signing a three-year, $21-million deal in 2011. But then he came back with a strong 2013 season and earned himself another two-year deal. Last season he hit .311 and played a Gold Glove-caliber third base.
This year he started slowly and the Dodgers seemed to give up on him in a hurry. Hey, he’s 36 and his best years are clearly behind him. Plus, Justin Turner and Alex Guerrero have been hitting very well.
But he’s still a valuable player to have around, is still the Dodgers' best defensive third baseman and he’s not hitting terribly at .247, albeit with no power thus far. But he’s been loyal, never complained when he lost his job to journeyman minor leaguer Luis Cruz in 2012, or this season as he watched Turner and Guerrero.
That loyalty was hardly returned when the Dodgers tried to deal him to the Braves. The front office knew Callapso could veto the deal, a right granted to the recently signed free agent, but tried to swing it anyway.
You probably should not worry too much about how Uribe will handle all this. If there is a temperament in that clubhouse who can shrug it off and best keep going, it is Uribe. And, of course, a deal being dead now is not the same as it being dead in the next 10 minutes. The Braves clearly have interest in Uribe, so another proposal could spring forth. And Callapso loses his veto power on June 15, so the deal could yet come about.
The Dodgers' willingness to move Uribe says several things: 1) They must really believe in Turner and Guerrero, so I guess Turner’s knees are not so bad after all; 2) They’re certain Cuban infielder Hector Olivera can be a major factor this season (guess signing him to a $62.5-milion deal at age 30 while battling a sore elbow was a hint); and 3) all players are disposable.
So it might be best not to fall too much in love with this Clayton Kershaw guy, either.